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chowmanMain Street, VancouverSince December 21, 200520 Reviews
Average Rating
3 (3)
  • Food3.5 (3.4)
  • Service3 (2.9)
  • Value1 (1)
  • Ambiance2.5 (2.6)

Reviews

Displaying 1 - 20 of 20 Reviews Found
Hakkasan2188 No. 5 Road, #110, Richmond
Value not great here
Submitted Thursday, December 11, 2008 - 4:15pm [Dine in]

Cuisine: We initially ordered the spicy green beans, chicken with curry sauce, and tofu. The waitress returned shortly thereafter to indicate that problems in the kitchen meant they could not offer several dishes: the beans and chicken dish were not available. Apparently stir-frying was not possible. It is difficult to imagine a Chinese restaurant operating without the ability to stir-fry.

We were not told this at the outset. Management should have ensured that our server was aware of this when the restaurant opened this morning. We overheard her mentioning to another table that the problem occurred the day before. We ended up ordering seasonal greens with abalone sauce and Korean shortribs after learning that seemingly no poultry or seafood dishes were available.

The food arrived relatively promptly. The tofu was accompanied by broccoli that was less than room temperature. The tofu was fine. The ribs were fatty and the greens were okay. Despite the flowery prose on the website, there was little in the way of maximized visual appeal. Presentation was vey plain.

Ambience: The website promises far more gracious circumstances than actually exist. The table was not quite arborite but close to it in quality. The smell of bleach was in the air. I do not fault the restaurant for the views of the light industrial area in which it is located.

Service: Tea refills were very prompt. Fresh plates were offered, as were wet towels.

Value: The seasonal greens were $13. The tofu was $13. The shortribs were $17. One of us is a very experienced consumer of Chinese cuisine. He considered the dishes were overpriced when compared to dishes available at other restaurants of comparable quality, especially given the smaller portions. The 10% discount for ordering before 12:30 did little to soften the sting. The promise of a Chinese dining experience brought to a "whole new level" is grossly misleading to the extent it suggests a high-quality dining experience. The claim to being "contemporary" cuisine is perhaps defensible on the basis that such a label is often associated with high-end restaurants which serve small portions at large prices.

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Closed
Le Gavroche Restaurant1616 Alberni Street, Vancouver
Saturday night at Le Gavroche
Submitted Saturday, August 12, 2006 - 7:32pm [Dine in]

Mrs. C and I splurged last weekend. We had not been to Le Gavroche for dinner since 1985. The meal started with a half bottle of champagne at $70. We both had three courses with wine for $75 each (three ounce glasses, save for dessert wine). I had the tuna done two ways: tartar and seared. The tartar came with an extra item - - two bones. I drew this to the attention of the server; while she said she would tell the kitchen, there was not really an apology. (The apology may have come via a glass of wine that was left off the bill.) Mrs. C had the kobe beef tartar made tableside and quite enjoyed it. My appetizer was very small.

Mrs. C enjoyed her prawn/risotto main course. I had the chicken which came with vegetables which were done just right. The chicken and sauce were good, not great. I had a slice of lemon tart for dessert. It was not as flavourful as I would have hoped. Was I satisfied with $75 for three courses with wine? I know no one goes there to save money.

I appreciate that this is "fine dining", but I wonder whether more flavour and value is to be had at other places in town such as Aurora Bistro. There the three courses come in at $48 with wine. some $27 less than Le Gavroche. (The three courses are set and do not involve the choice that is to be had at Le Gavroche where one can choose from several salads, appetizers, and entrees.) I question whether the choice, the room, and the service add that extra $27. That being said, our server was gracious and thoughtful with respect to matters of wine. She also brought us coffee, kahlua, and Bailey's on ice (gratis) at the end of our meal.

Dinner, which involved three glasses of wine on top of the wine included as part of the three courses, champagne, and a relatively old armagnac, came in at about $320, not including tip.

Chowman

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Closed
Seb's Market Cafe592 East Broadway, Vancouver
Breakfast at Seb's
Submitted Saturday, August 12, 2006 - 7:02pm [Dine in]

Mrs. C was at work; I went for breakfast after the gym. I sat at the bar at Seb's. Usually the bar is vacant.

I was not getting a lot of service from the servers but the cook took my order: venison/sun dried tomato scrambled eggs. I have have found at several visits to Seb's that a sole diner at the bar gets served almost right way by the weekend cook. He mentioned one time that that was his practice.

The meal was fast and tasty. There was a lot of venison in there. The pan fried potatoes were hot. The toast was done right and accompanied by nice preserves. Seb's also excels at the little things. The meal was accompanied by several slices of two types of melon, a strawberry, a slice of pineapple, and half a fig. Other places give you a slice of strawberry. The combination changes as well.

At the bar the service is good from the cook but not great from the servers. The owner came around from behind the bar and served me water and coffee. A water refill was offered by a server without prompting. Paying the bill was quirky. I put a $20 bill on top of the folder which held my bill for $11.50 and several minutes passed even though servers walked by, including the one who brought me the bill.

A seat at the bar gives you a chance to take in some of the other little details. There are little plastic creatures on the tops of the lamps at the bar.

Overall, I would rate Seb's a 3.5 given the food and the ambiance.

I have not been for lunch or dinner.

Chowman

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Pho Tan Vietnamese Restaurant4598 Main Street, Vancouver
Lemon grass chicken at Pho Tan
Submitted Thursday, August 3, 2006 - 11:07pm [Dine in]

Mrs. C and I went for lemon grass chicken last night. I had mine on vermicelli and she had hers on rice. The dishes arrived so quickly I thought that we must be getting pre-prepared food, yet the chicken was freshly grilled. The prices were very reasonable: $6.50 each. I have had more flavourful grilled chicken but this was good for the price.

The decor is much more attractive than that at the proprietor's previous location closer to Main and King Edward which is currently occupied by a Vietnamese restaurant. The colours are brown and tan which may not sound exciting but they are warm and restful (the other place featured purple and lime green).

My only quibble is the drinks list. The only alcoholic beverage is beer; there is no wine or cider. I am not a beer guy and so tea and iced tea was my drink.

I have not explored the menu at this location, but the lemon grass chicken is good.

Chowman

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Ogenki Sushi4342 Main St, Vancouver
A tuna destination
Submitted Monday, June 26, 2006 - 10:37pm [Dine in]

I get take-out from here about twice a month. I picked up some food about two weeks ago.

I have always found the food to be fresh. I order items like tuna sashimi, ebi sunomono, negitoro maki, tobiko, spicey salmon roll, etc. Not terribly adventurous I realize. I have never been disappointed with regards to freshness, serving size or taste.

The owner takes great care with his tuna items. I had a chance to talk to him about this when I used to dine at the counter. He is a big fan of tuna and I think it shows.

They offer a 10% discount card to frequent diners which helps, although the prices are very reasonable to begin with. I have not sampled their boxes.

Decor is likely pretty standard. Plenty of newspapers to read while one sips free tea while waiting to pick up an order. I think it is a solid member of the Main Street family of restaurants.

Chowman

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Closed
Cru1459 W Broadway, Vancouver
Cru for one at the bar
Submitted Monday, June 26, 2006 - 10:22pm [Dine in]

About a week and a half ago, Mrs. C had to work late so I was left to my own devices, culinarily speaking. I took the bus to Cru that Monday night. Why not save on cab fare and then spend on wine? With that in mind, I ordered a glass of sparklng wine to start as I sat at the bar. I had the restaurant to myself as it was still early.

I started with the scallops. Four for $14, not cheap but very very tasty and well presented. I matched a white wine using the colour coding on the menu. Sounds quirky but it works. I then had the carpaccio and a side of frites. A massive serving of frites for $4. A red wine suggested by me and confirmed the bartender/server, a very well-informed and personable young woman, fit perfectly. I think it was the Quatro.

Dessert was the lemon and basil tart with a dessert wine. Gorgeous combination. Coffee and a smokey Scotch to finish.

Service was impeccable. Attentive but not instrusive. The prices may be found on their website. For the quaility of food the prices are very reasonable. The decor is quiet, tasteful, and not flashy. A great location for a romantic dinner.

Chowman

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Pho Lan Vietnamese Restaurant6950 No. 3 Road, Richmond
Fast and fresh
Submitted Monday, June 26, 2006 - 10:08pm [Dine in]

I get here about three times a month as I work in Richmond. I am not a beef guy, but I do get their chicken pho (I appreciate purists might pass on chicken as not real pho). The sprouts and lime wedges are always fresh.

The service is prompt and food is delivered quickly. Water and tea arrive pretty much instantly. The fellow who I assume is the proprietor always checks with us. It may help that we attend almost every Monday with between five and 12 of us.

I have tried the lemon grass chicken which I order on vermicelli. (Today I had that.) As well, I have tried the wontons with noodles. Those dishes are very generously sized.

The walk in to the restaurant from the back parking lot is interesting. The interior is simply decorated. I wonder if it used to be a Greek restaurant.

I wish there were 3.5 ratings.

Chowman

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Closed
Public Lounge Eatery3289 Main Street, Vancouver
Public on Thursday night
Submitted Saturday, June 24, 2006 - 7:11pm [Dine in]

We arrived around 7:00 on Thursday night. Water and drinks arrived quickly: Strongbow on tap for me and a Public martini (very blue!) for Mrs. C.

We ordered spinach salad, prawn lollipops, beef rolls, seared tuna, and the mange trois. The salad featured a nice maple viniagrette and candied pecans. The lollipops were lightly sprinkled with crisp garlic. The food was wonderful to this point.

The beef rolls were a bit problematic. Mrs. C was not a fan of the shoots that accompanied the beef in the rice paper. A better cut of meat could have been used. The seared tuna with lentils was wonderful. Nicely seared and the bacon in the lentils gave things a smoky flavour. The mange trois--three mini-burgers of lamb, turkey and tuna-- were disappointing. The turkey was overcooked; the tuna was not up to the seared tune that preceded it. The three dabs of sauce did not help a lot.

I was still hungry and ordered another order of the tuna. There was an astonishing delay in contrast to the timely arrival of our other dishes. IThe server referred to a back up of orders. There were not that many diners at that point. When the tuna arrived it was not up to the first order of tuna.

Dessert was a cheese plate and creme caramel. Mrs. C quite enjoyed the caramel. The cheeses were okay, but I think more fruit and nuts could have accompanied. I ordered a port (no dessert wines present--must go to Aurora for that) which arrived in a high-ball glass??

The plates ranged in price from $6 for the salad to $12 for the seared tuna. They were a reasonable size save for the mange trois which seemed a little skimpy at $10.

Our first server finished her shift at 8:00ish and the front of the restaurant on a Thursday night was left for one server? The artwork was a little disturbing (disturbed?)--creatures coming out of faces.

This was our second visit to Public. I would return for some of the dishes.

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Crave3941 Main St., Vancouver
Delays at Crave
Submitted Saturday, June 17, 2006 - 5:26pm [Dine in]

Mr and Mrs. Chowman stayed in the 'hood for dinner this week. We went to Crave.

The placed was quite full for mid-week. No water offered when we sat down. The wine list is pretty light on wine by the glass: two white and two red. The server took our drink order and then came back from the patio to indicate that he had forgotten the order. They do need to expand the wine list. I had chardonnay as the pinot was rather sad.

There was an astonishingly long wait for our meal. At one point we were told that the food was on the way but then more time passed. We did not order appetizers and so I was ready to chew on the table.

The salmon on fennel/artichoke salad with potatoes on the side was tasty. The salad was a bit overcooked--some scorching was noticeable. Mrs. Chowman had the steak and onion rings. She was very pleased and I tried a bit of each and they were very good. Were the dishes worth $42 in total given the locale?

Dessert was ice cream with a cookie. Very simple item after a long wait.

Arrival to departure was one hour and 40 minutes. I do think that they need to add more kitchen staff and add more floor staff. There were three servers for the whole restaurant. Much of the art work is from the gallery next door. It does not fit with the colour scheme. The black and white photographs on the east wall of the restaurant are more suitable.

Chowman

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Wild Rice117 W Pender Street, Vancouver
Another Wild Rice review
Submitted Saturday, May 6, 2006 - 2:23pm [Dine in]

Once again Mr and Mrs C headed out of the hood for dinner this last Wednsday. We went to Wild Rice. I ordered the wonton soup and the bison sirloin. Mrs. C ordered the warm sesame spinach, the risotto, and the stuffed chicken wings. Her three orders arrived before the soup. We were advised that food arrival would be "family style."

My soup was a generous and tasty serving for such a small price. Mrs. C was satisfied with her items. I tried some of spinach; the flavours were indistinct. The bison sirloin arrived rather late (to the point I was wondering if it had wandered off the range for parts unknown). The dish should have been hotter temperature-wise and the sirloin was more toward medium than medium-rare. I did not specifiy a done-ness level as I assumed that it would be prepare medium-rare (my mistake). The crushed potatoes were flavourful.

Dessert was a delicious banana bread. Not a large serving.

I had a glass of Noble Blend before the soup, a glass of pinot noir with the soup, and a glass of shiraz with the bison. Mrs. C had a pink famingo and two glasses of Noble Blend. After dinner drinks were Scapa scotch and Rip van Winkle bourbon (very reasonably priced).

The service was attentive save for a gap between being seated and our drink order being taken. I think that Vancouver servers generally allow too much time to pass after seating.

The decor at the front is minimalist. I think the tables look a little tired. I am not a big fan of lucite and metal. The bar set up is colourful.

I wish the rating schedule here allowed 3.5. I would have used several 3.5 ratings.

Chowman

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Chambar568 Beatty Street, Vancouver
Chambar on a Monday night
Submitted Tuesday, April 18, 2006 - 11:00pm [Dine in]

The Chowman and Mrs. Chowman got out of the 'hood on Monday night.

When we called for reservations, there was no room in the main dining area, but we were able to secure a table near the bar. We ended up at the table with the big red tub chairs. We started with two glassses of BC bubbly.

There was something of a delay (too long by several minutes) between the delivery of the bubbles and the taking of our orders. To start, I had ostrich carpaccio and Mrs. C had the winter salad. The carpaccio with soba salad and beet/horseradish was wonderful with the BC pinot noir by the glass. Mrs. C had the winter salad with "nice cripsy onion fried things", pecans, stilton, pear, and greens.

For the main course, I had the winterzooi (sp?) a variation on bouillabaisse with curry broth and crab gnocchi (not shown on the menu on Chambar's website?). Mrs. C had the mussels coquotte. The Basa Blanco suggested by out first server went well with both entrees. We had two glasses each. The mussels involved a very generous serving which required my assistance to finish. Very tasty. Not too much cream. The bacon added just the right amount of smokiness to the dish.

I passed on dessert. I had some very expensive armagnac. Mrs. C had the special vanilla infused amaretto which was "not that special and not that vanilla."

The food was very good. We lost our first server about one hour into our two hour meal. Curious. We arrived at 7:30 so it was not late in the evening. There was more delay betweeen the end of the main course and the delivery of dessert menus.

Ambiance: It was not loud. We were not in the main dining room so that may have helped. The dining area is attractive.

Service: Some time gaps of note. The servers were gracious and there was timely water service.

Food: The entrees were under $25 and were very flavourful and a reasonable size (or more).

Chowman

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Locus, The4121 Main Street, Vancouver
Locus in transition?
Submitted Tuesday, April 18, 2006 - 10:33pm [Dine in]

I went for lunch at the bar on Saturday as I felt like having someone else cook after I had cut a piece off my index finger while engaged in food prep on Friday night (2.5 hours in emergency waiting for treatment--another story).

I had the elk burger with salad and pan fries. While the bartender took my order which included holding the mayo and the cheese, the owner came over to confirm it before he put the order in. The order was not that exotic. I started with a glass off Strongbow on tap. Always nice to have something other than the usual Growers and Okanagan varieties.

After I finished my cider, I asked for a glass of their BC merlot. They did not have any. Switched to chianti. The burger was good. The salad was fresh, albeit not terribly exciting.

I ended up talking to both the owner and the head chef. The owner indicated that the menu was shifting to take into account the more sophisticated tastes of the diners. The north wall of the restaurant would be repainted. (This means that the dark and murky ambiance might change.) The chef indicated that things like kangaroo would be added to the menu. There will continue to be four to six veggies per entree.

Overall, the Locus is okay, but I am not sure whether the kitchen staff is up to more sophisticated. Aurora Bistro down the street will likely continue to be Main Street's sophisticated restaurant for the forseeable future.

The table service can be hit and miss ( I have dined here about once a month since it opened).

As for ambiance, a repaint might be nice for the very very dark walls. The bar counter has been redone. The bar stools ned some help as it appears that most of them have burst a seam or two.

Chowman

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Closed
Slickety Jim's Chat n' Chew2513 Main St., Vancouver
Funky and tasty
Submitted Saturday, February 4, 2006 - 9:48pm [Dine in]

I went in this morning for late breakfast (11:00 am-ish). All tables occupied. I sat at the counter.

They were fast with the coffee but not so fast taking my order. About 25 -30 minutes passed before my meal arrived. Revolution eggs involve scambled eggs on black forest ham resting on cornbread. Asiago cheese on top of the eggs with tomatillo salsa. Potatoes and salad as well.

A very tasty meal. I could see from the counter that the main chef was working as fast as possible.

The room is very very funky and reminds me of a crazy basement suite.

Chowman

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Templeton, The1087 Granville Street, Vancouver
Templeton soldiers on
Submitted Thursday, December 29, 2005 - 8:01pm [Dine in]

Over the last two weeks I have been here twice for breakfast and once for lunch, all around the 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. time slot.

I think that place gets overwhelmed by patron volume easily and the food suffers a bit as a result. By that I mean that french toast may end up arriving somewhat overdone but not enough to send back (earlier this week).

The servers are usually prompt and attentive, although there was a new server who was clearly overwhelmed last week by the number of patrons. I am not sure that she was been told what she was in for volume-wise. Hence my toast arrived very late.

I have not tried it for dinner.

Chowman

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Closed
Tomato Fresh Food Cafe2486 Bayswater Street, Vancouver
Tomato could try harder
Submitted Thursday, December 29, 2005 - 7:47pm [Dine in]

I have been here many times before and I really want to like this place.

I went here for lunch today. I arrived at about 11:45. The group of three in front of me had to wait a good five minutes before it was acknowledged and seated. There was a booth free and a table free right where they were standing. I think the restaurant should stress with its staff that first contact with the patron should be prompt. I was seated right after them.

I declined a table as I thought that sitting at the bar might enhance my chances of timely service.

I ordered the chicken baguette and potato salad. The dish arrived in a relatively timely manner, albeit after the order of someone else who sat down at the bar after me and ordered the quiche and salad. The server at the bar had not brought me cutlery or a napkin and so I had to ask for them.

The bageutte was chewy and tasty. The chicken could have been a bit more moist. The salad could have been a bit more potato and a little less dressing.

A fellow diner at the bar was kept waiting quite some time before being acknowledged other than by the comment "I will be with you in a minute."

I refilled my own water glass as it did not look like anyone was going to attend to it or check with me if was enjoying my baguette.

I enjoy the food but ....

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Aurora Bistro2420 Main, Vancouver
Main Street's Lovely Bistro
Submitted Friday, December 23, 2005 - 12:23am [Dine in]

I have dined here numerous times. A recent review in the Westender (December 15th?) does a much better job but here goes....

I was in two weeks ago and the food and service continue to sparkle. Aurora must be one of the few places that has Merridale cider on tap! This is a real treat when one considers the usual ciders out there.

I had the bison carpaccio to start and then the venison/fennel sausage. The carpaccio with brioche and pickled eggplant is very flavourful. The sausage has a wonderful taste and texture.

The staff are very aware of wine/food pairings and give excellent advice. The wines are all from B.C. and, owing to the selection, one does not miss out on outstanding matching of wines to food: some gorgeous reds by the glass.

The room is warm and inviting; it seems some distance from Main and Broadway (no, that is not a snotty comment as I live in the neighbourhood).

Why not fives across the board? Call me picky.....

Chowman

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Closed
Legendary Noodle4191 Main Street, Vancouver
Oodles of noodles
Submitted Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - 10:08pm [Dine in]

I was here last Thursday for lunch at about 11:00. The place was vacant and cold. I was the only diner during my stay. This was strange given the accolades found in the newspaper articles on the window.

I chose the skinny noodles in hot and sour soup for around $6.00. At the back of the restaurant, behind glass, the chef does indeed make the noodles right there, as noted in various newspaper articles posted on the front window.

Very plentiful noodles. The soup needed some oomph. (Yes, I know made that comment about the pho on Main Street in another review I posted today.) The noodles somewhat overwhelmed the soup. It was tasty though.

I was given a full tea-pot. No need to catch a server's attention when your glass gets empty.

Chowman

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Closed
La Fourchette Restaurant2205 Manitoba Street, Vancouver
The other La Fourchette?
Submitted Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - 9:51pm [Dine in]

I was here for the first time last Tuesday at lunch. A steady crowd of folks came in to pick up take-out. The fellow at the till seemed to know them all by name. I dined on the restaurant side which had about about five or six tables. The menu seems to have a Greek section, a burger section, and a diner section.

I ordered the soup and sandwich for $6.50. The soup was white bean and the sandwich was oven-roasted turkey. Generous serving of soup. The turkey was as advertised--not processed. The lettuce and tomato were fresh. A dap of mayo on the foccacia bun. Yes, it was not some limp lame bun!

Very welcoming staff that was not put off by the fact that I managed to set a menu on fire while at my table. Sneaky little candles.

The exterior is indeed pink. Parking is free in the area, albeit a bit hard to find within a block or two at lunch time.

Chowman

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Pho Hoang Vietnamese Restaurant3388 Main Street, Vancouver
Pho without oomph
Submitted Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - 9:29pm [Dine in]

I have had a lot of pho in Richmond but this is my first pho in Vancouver which I had last week (Wednesday?).

I had the small chicken. A sizeable bowl for the price ($4.95). The large would have been a bit much. Crisp sprouts! Fresh is so nice.

A small red pepper was offered up with the slice of lime. The dish needed some heat and resting the pepper in the broth was not doing it so I had to nibble on the pepper to get some zing with the meal. A chooped up pepper for sprinkling would have done the trick, but I did not bring my scout knife.

The pho was delivered quickly. Post-pho arrival, the service was not attentive but then I was a $4.95 customer dining by myself. I was in the southern dining area, and I think being seated in the northern area would have helped. The southern area seemed to be the crying baby wasteland.

Chowman

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Au Petit Cafe4851 Main Street, Vancouver
Subs ahoy!
Submitted Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - 9:15pm [Dine in]

Just discovered this site and have been on vacation for 1.5 weeks and have had a lot of lunches out.

The chicken subs were wonderful on my Monday visit. (Yes, I had two at $3.00 each--what a steal.) The bread was crisp. The chef did not skimp on the peppers. Fresh cilantro! A bit more chicken would have been nice but for $3.00 can one quibble?

The decor is not outstanding. The tea is hot and the servers are always available to be called over for a refill. I have attended after 1:00 on the weekends and been told that they were out of bread so I usually visit around 11:00.

Chowman

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